Five Things to Do to Protect Yourself After a Truck Accident
Stephen M. Garcia
Garcia & Artigliere
There are more than 500,000 commercial truck accidents per day in the United States. As the number of trucks on the road increase, and as larger trucks are allowed to go at faster speeds on our highways and freeways, the chances of your someday being in a truck accident increases.
When that day comes, it is important that you know what to do when you or a loved one suffer a truck accident.
Report the Accident
Even if you don’t think anyone has been injured, call 911 to report the accident. Most state laws require that you report an accident immediately. Leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it or waiting for the police to arrive is a crime.
Do Not Admit Fault
In traumatic situations, many people are prone to saying “I’m sorry” or accepting blame. Resist saying you are sorry, whether or not you think you are at fault.
The truth is, you have no idea who is at fault. It is possible that there are contributing elements to the accident that you could not know.
For instance, it is possible that a contributing factor of the truck accident was caused by the tractor trailer not being loaded correctly. So even if the accident was your fault, a portion of the liability might be the loading company’s liability.
Be truthful with the police and highway patrol at the scene, but do not:
Admit the accident was your fault.
Tell the other driver that you, or your insurance, will take care of everything.
Suggest you didn’t see the commercial vehicle, that you were speeding, or that you were in anyway distracted.
Talk to anyone except the police.
Allow yourself to be video taped or recorded in any way.
It is critical that you do not speak with and you do not sign anything from insurance claims adjustors. Often the trucking company’s insurance claims adjustor will be sent immediately to the accident scene or to the hospital where you are taken.
Always remember they are not your friend, no matter how nice they may seem. Their job is to ensure that their insurance company gives you the smallest possible compensation for the trucking accident.
See a Doctor
If you are in a truck accident there is a significant chance that you, or your passengers, have suffered serious personal injuries. . .or worse. Even if you think you are not hurt, you should seek immediate medical attention to ensure that you have not suffered any internal injuries or trauma which can be life-threatening.
Not seeking medical attention immediately after a truck accident can also prevent you from being able to document the source of your truck crash injuries. This can make it difficult for an attorney to prove that the truck accident caused your injuries in the event of a future lawsuit.
Preserve Evidence of the Accident
More than likely if you are in a truck accident you will not be any condition to do this, but if you are, it is important to collect as much information as possible. Valuable information includes getting:
Driver’s license, insurance, contact information, including email.
Truck’s license, registration and insurance. If there is a trailer, you want those registration numbers also (rigs and cabs may have different registration numbers and come from different companies). If possible, get the addresses of the company(s) that own the cab and trailor(s). Make sure to get emails.
Witnesses’ contact information, including emails.
If you have a camera – or cell phone camera – take close up and faraway pictures of the scene, all involved vehicles and the road surface. You may want to take pictures of the people involved or of cars adjacent to the accident.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Under the law, a truck accident is not the same as a motor vehicle accident. That is why it is important that you are represented by an experienced truck accident attorney like the lawyers at Garcia & Artigliere.
The trucking company’s insurance company has an entire army of attorneys whose job is to ensure you receive the smallest amount of compensation for your injuries and property damage. This is what they do all day, everyday. You cannot face them alone.
It is to your benefit that you contact a truck accident attorney at Garcia & Artigliere as soon as possible.
Your truck accident attorney will begin an investigation to find out exactly what happened and who is liable for the truck accident. He also will get statements from witnesses before their memories fade and make sure that evidence does not disappear.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Garcia & Artigliere.